When my husband and I first got married, I assumed (wrongly) that we would observe holidays the same way that I was used to. It’s not that I was rejecting my husband’s family traditions in favor of my own. It would be more accurate to say I’d never considered that there were other ways to celebrate holidays than what I was used to.
We returned from our honeymoon the second week of December, and I had three weeks to throw the perfect Christmas and write all the thank you notes for our wedding. I probably went from bride-zilla to holiday-zilla fast enough to make my poor husband’s head spin.
Did I mention we were hosting both sides of the family in three seprate Christmas events?
During an intervention where my husband crossed “hand-embossed menus” and “prepare individual mini scrapbooks” off my list, we had a chance to talk about what my husband really wanted for Christmas traditions, as well as what he didn’t. We also talked about my own family traditions.
They didn’t match. At all. He found the idea of opening gifts on Christmas Eve horrifying. I liked it. He liked ham, I wanted turkey. He wanted Santa, I didn’t.
His first choice was to ignore Christmas entirely, but he was willing to negotiate. I was willing to simplify to something realistic.
His one request was that we have a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve. Specifically, he wanted a store bought angel food cake covered in whipped non-dairy topping and coconut and then sprinkled with tiny silver balls.
We do. Every year. Even the year we were at Disney World for Christmas. Even when the only silver balls I could find were $15 a bottle and covered with actual silver. Even though I personally object to non-dairy topping. It was his one request, and I honor it.
When our children were toddlers, they insisted that birthday parties include party hats. That included the party for Jesus, of course. So we have photos of several older relatives dressed in their holiday finest, sporting tiny paper party hats at the request of two determined little boys.
Two years ago, my boys decided to add balloons and streamers to the party. They informed me of this as they were decorating the cake, so I dug through what meager party supplies we had on hand. Not only did we find balloons and streamers, but some party plates and birthday candles too.
Last year, that one of the boys had a manger from school that consisted of a Baby Jesus made from a stuffed sock with a face and some glued on hair nestled in a hay-filled paper bowl. So baby Jesus joined us at the party in sock form. After the party, the boys tucked Him into bed and sang him a lullaby.
This year, I’m turning over the birthday party planning to the boys. I’ve asked them to make a list of what they need. They said Jesus wants a chocolate cake and party favors.
Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker writes at ThisHappyMom.com and has a passion for encouraging weary worn out moms to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination for eggs, socks, and books. She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family. She serves an amazing God. She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder.